Yes, that was the headline and subhead for Mark Moford's column in the San Francisco Chronicle today. Not only does the very title of this screed of ignominious proportions rip into the first lady for no worthy reason, Moford also says that being a Catholic woman is "unfortunate." Shamefully, he also calls the Bush daughters their "twin Styrofoam peanut daughters," so it isn't just Laura Bush he unduly attacks. It's been a long time since a major newspaper has published a so-called editorial with this much vitriol contained within.
Moford tries to explain why conservative women find themselves raising an eyebrow at loudmouthed women like Teresa Heinz Kerry and Hillary Clinton (when she was first lady) but he completely mischaracterizes why people react to them the way they do as mere distaste of their gauche personalities as opposed to opposition to their ideologies and a feeling that such women overstep their boundaries.
Was Barack Obama's denunciation of Rev. Wright yesterday just some ginned-up anger, a show for the cameras—and the voters? You might think so, to judge by Andrea Mitchell's surprising revelation on today's Morning Joe . . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: What do you think of the Obama statement yesterday? Was it enough to finally put this behind him?
ANDREA MITCHELL: Perhaps, yes. He had to do it. This thing had been a nagging, you know, problem, an open wound really. This was a very public divorce. I should point out, though, that quite to my surprise when he was out on the stump last night, once again Obama was kind of trivializing it, saying "well, my opponents are making fun of me, and trying to define me, and saying I don't put my hand over my heart, and they talk about my former pastor's crazy statements." So he was trying to blame it on McCain, Hillary, whoever, rather than on what he earlier said in a very specific and dramatic way.
I'm beginning to see Joe Scarborough's skirmishes with Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe as mere batting practice for the much more serious battles he undertakes in the evening with Rachel Maddow on Race for the White House.
As Noel Sheppard documented, Maddow and Scarborough tangled on April 17th, with Joe possibly having exited the set in the end. The pair were back at it on this evening's "Race," the Air America host this time accusing Scarborough of "tying Barack Obama to Hitler."
Maddow's theme throughout the show was that the media has devoted too much coverage to the Rev. Wright matter. David Shuster, subbing for host David Gregory, lit the fuse.
In a particularly dire analysis on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co- host Harry Smith reacted to the recent media tour of Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and declared: "He's being called the 'Pastor of Disaster' for the effect he's having on Barack Obama's campaign. Why is Reverend Jeremiah Wright taking his case to the public now?"
Smith began the segment on Wright by observing that: "Well, the month of April has probably been the longest month of Senator Barack Obama's life. He started off this month by distancing himself from comments made by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Now he's doing it again."
Smith then talked to Democratic strategist, Joe Trippi, who said of Wright’s media appearances: "It's a nightmare for the Obama campaign. They can't like this at all and they've got no control." Smith went on to comment on Obama’s initial speech in Philadelphia that addressed Reverend Wright: "The speech on race that was so lauded, almost forgotten now." He followed up by asking Trippi: "...is this a campaign killer, can this be a campaign killer?"
The Bill Moyers PBS interview of Barack Obama’s long-time minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, underlined once again that our tax dollars don’t fund programs championing racial harmony. They fund programs that celebrate black radicals, militants, and kooks. Moyers came to Rev. Wright’s side not to condemn him or even challenge him, but to praise him and defend him. As he implored Wright to explain his "God damn America" sermon, Wright at least said he was free in America to denounce America. To which Moyers replied: "Well, you can be almost crucified for saying what you've said here in this country."
Bill Moyers wants us to see Jeremiah Wright as the Jesus Christ of our time?
Religion and the military shouldn't mix. That's the take away message that both CBS and ABC touted when their Sunday morning news programs publicized the plight of an atheist who is suing the Army for religious discrimination.
On April 27th CBS's Sunday Morning and ABC's Good Morning America Sunday each featured the story of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist who claims he was denied promotion and persecuted because of his atheism. Both interviewed Hall and Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a co-plaintiff in Hall's lawsuit.
Weinstein was described as a loyal patriot (by CBS) and a defender of the religiously oppressed (ABC). Neither network bothered to mention that on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Web site American military members are compared directly to Islamic jihadists. A video runs on the homepage of the site which juxtaposes a suicide bomber holding a rifle and Koran with a group of American soldiers holding rifles and Bibles.
One small step for David Axelrod, one giant leap for Barack Obama away from Jeremiah Wright . . .
When chief Obama strategist Axelrod appeared at the end of this evening's Hardball, I expected him to dodge the current Rev. Wright controversy with some bromide about the reverend's right to express his opinions. But—in evidence of just how badly Wright's current comments are hurting Obama—Axelrod surprised me by acknowledging that he wished Wright hadn't piped up and suggesting that the good reverend's out for Numero Uno. Axelrod did manage to work in a blame-the-media angle.
View video here. [Note: Axelrod comments come after Matthews takes shot at Bill Kristol.]
How perfect. The director of some of Hollywood's most revoltingly violent, sexually explicit, culturally corrosive movies has an even more destructive hobby on the side: iconoclasm.
Paul Verhoeven, director of "Basic Instinct," "Robocop" and "Showgirls," turns out to be a member of the academically suspect Jesus Seminar, and in September he will publish a book attacking the foundational Christian doctrine that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
For the past twenty years, the Dutch filmmaker has reportedly been attending meetings of the Jesus Seminar and researching his biography, "Jesus of Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait." Fox News quotes a spokesman for Amsterdam publishing house J.M. Meulenhoff saying Verhoeven "hopes it will be a springboard" for making a movie about Jesus' life.
Later in the segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright speech at the National Press Club (which Mark Finkelstein blogged about earlier), Gergen suggested that "it’s time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow" [audio available here].
Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from "Newsroom" co-host Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright, "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."
Gergen then talked about how the Rev. Wright issue was a distraction, and how the preacher should have handled himself after the controversy broke, all the while heaping praise on him, and at the end, making his "move on" suggestion.
How bad was Reverend Wright's appearance before the National Press Club this morning? Bad enough that even CNN contributor Roland Martin—who yesterday enthused about Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP, who gave Wright's chat with Bill Moyers an 'A'—flunked it with an 'F.' Bad enough that David Gergen condemned it as "narcissistic almost beyond belief." Bad enough that, introducing a panel discussion of the speech, the palpably distressed CNN Newsroom host Tony Harris let out an audible groan of "ah, boy," and later wondered how much damage had been done.
Were they commenting on the same speech? Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes before the Detroit NAACP, claims that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and offers a simpering, unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak. CNN's Soledad O'Brien gushes that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." But over at Morning Joe, Wright's words prompted a panel member to rip the reverend as a "mediocrity" and a "buffoon."
Soledad O'Brien was in the hall when Wright spoke. She reported on the speech at the top of CNN's 6 AM ET hour.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The whole thing, frankly, was really funny. I think a lot of people have seen Rev. Wright defined as controversial, defined as angry, defined as anti-American: not in that speech. Not in that speech at all. He was funny, he was witty. This is a guy who's got two masters and his doctorate in divinity. Here is a guy who speaks five languages, they took pains in his introduction to point out all his accomplishments.
Bob Herbert: voice of reason? On economics and the role of government, no. On the dynamics of the Dem nomination race? Actually, yes. In both his TV appearances and columns, Herbert, a military veteran who grew up largely in a comfortable New Jersey suburb, comes across as more clear-eyed and down-to-earth, less angry and ideological, than his NY Times confreres like Paul Krugman or Frank Rich.
Take Herbert's column of this morning, Heading Toward the Danger Zone. My sense is that, at heart, Herbert backs Obama. But that doesn't deter the columnist from offering an unblinking assessment of the very perilous electoral path on which Obama finds himself. Let's work backwards from Herbert's stunning conclusion [emphasis added]:
One of Senator Obama’s favorite phrases is “the fierce urgency of now.” There is nothing more fiercely urgent for him right now than to reassure voters and superdelegates that an Obama candidacy will not lead to a Democratic debacle in November.
ABCNews.com today is featuring an article by Lillian Cunningham of Medill News Service about "The Young and the Religious." Cunningham sought to look at how "[s]ome young religious voters shun the religious right, focus instead on social justice." Of course Cunningham ignored how these young voters might not just be liberal in politics but theology.
After all, liberal Christianity is not a surprising new phenomenon. Indeed, liberal and social gospel movements of the late 1800s and early 1900s were met with resistance by conservative, orthodox theologians such as J. Gresham Machen. Machen threw down a theological gauntlet in 1923 with his classic work "Christianity and Liberalism," in which he held that modernist or liberal Christianity "not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions." The Presbyterian theologian and preacher eventually broke away from the left-ward leaning Presbyterian Church to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1936.
Simply put, the religious left in America is nothing new and its leftist politics often flow from their left-leaning theological twists on Christian Scripture.
Interviewed by Bill Moyers for a PBS show to be aired on the night of April 25, 2008, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. accused people of trying to paint him as "un-American" or "some sort of fanatic" for purposes of harming the candidacy of Barack Obama. (AP Photo/PBS, Robin Holland, HO)
During a taped interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which aired on Thursday’s "Larry King Live," Larry King did not bring up the California Democrat’s longstanding use of a fictional quote from the Bible, which CNSNews.com chronicled in a report on April 23.
During the interview, which totaled just under 19 minutes, King asked Pelosi about a variety of topics, such as the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the congressional Democrats’ failure to end the war in Iraq, and the proposed free trade agreement with Colombia. But Pelosi’s quote, "To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us," which she has used on at least seven occasions since 2005, did not come up.
In her April 24 post at The Seeker blog, Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear asked readers how they would keep the peace between Armenian and Greek Orthodox priests that maintain the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Brachear also noted the concern at least one reader of the Tribune expressed as to the grammatically, historically, and theologically sloppy way in which the print edition rendered a caption describing the church (emphasis mine):
Revered by most Christians as the site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the sanctuary was built over the place where Jesus is said to have been buried.
It’s the latter description of the church that sparked a newsroom debate this week. Reader Marcia Smith Marzec of Joliet pointed out that a caption in the Tribune’s April 21 edition described the church as "built over the site in Jerusalem where Jesus is said to be buried."
"Even non-believers know that for Christians, Christ rose from the dead, and therefore is not ‘buried’ anywhere," Marzec wrote.
Despite her Bible mangling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presents herself as a "devout Catholic," and was kissing the ring of Pope Benedict in Washington last week, no doubt honoring him as "Your Holiness." But in the April 21 Time, she recommends the Dalai Lama to be in Time's Top 100 (most influential people, and he's also "His Holiness." How many gods does Pelosi worship? Devout Catholics worship one God. Tibetan Buddhists worship a multiplicity of gods. Pelosi wrote:
His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes himself as a "simple monk," but he represents so much more to so many. He is a source of spiritual refuge, and has used his position to promote wisdom, compassion and nonviolence as a solution to world conflicts.
That's certainly the title that the Dalai Lama uses, but that doesn't mean everyone in public life does. In fact, Dan Rather also recommended the Tibetan monk for the Person of the Year honors in the December 17, 2007 issue without the honorific:
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed John McCain and asked about the recent ad put out by the North Carolina Republican Party that criticized Barack Obama’s relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright: "The Republican Party of North Carolina is planning to run an ad bashing Senator Obama. I know that you oppose that ad, but they're running it anyway. So what does that say about you, that you haven't opposed it strongly enough or that your own party is blatantly disregarding your wishes?"
McCain replied by once again denouncing the ad:
It means that the Republican Party of the state of North Carolina is dead wrong. They are an independent organization. I'll do everything in my power to make sure not only they stop it but that kind of leadership is rejected. And the overwhelming majority of Republicans in North Carolina share my view.
However, that was still not enough for Rodriguez, who followed up with: "But as the Republican nominee for president, couldn't you pick up the phone and call the head of the North Carolina GOP and say, don't run it?"
It is NBC Green Week, after all, so who can blame Andrea Mitchell for recycling two dilapidated defenses of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
Mitchell's heart didn't seem wholly in it, but like a burned-out public defender going through the motions, Andrea apparently felt constrained to mount some kind of defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial remarks. And so she trotted out two hoary chestnuts:
that's the way it's done in African-American churches, and
A Bible quote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi often uses to justify her environmental agenda doesn't exist, biblical scholars tell CNSNews.com reporter Pete Winn. Pelosi last cited the fictional Bible passage two days ago to commemorate Earth Day. In her April 22 news release, Pelosi said, "The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, 'To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.'"
A professor at Yale Divinity School tells Winn it’s not even a close paraphrase of anything in the Bible, and a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary says Pelosi’s Bible quote is completely "fictional." A Roman Catholic doctor of scripture adds that it can’t be found "even in pieces or bits." In addition to her recent news release, Pelosi’s "verbatim" citing of the quote goes back to at least 2005, Winn’s research shows the mistake repeating:
– A 2005 Christmas message to the U.S. House.
– A 2007 speech to U.S. House Science and Technology Committee.
In Chris Matthews's mind, a bigot is someone who's "culturally conservative" on race. Matthews equated the two on this evening's Hardball in attempting to explain exit polling from yesterday's PA primary showing that 38% of white Catholic Democrats wouldn't vote for Obama in the general election.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, somebody who doesn't like that group of voters might call them Archie Bunkers. I'll call them Reagan Democrats, John [Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News], they're Reagan Democrats: people who are culturally conservative, maybe a little culturally conservative on the racial front, on the ethnic front. They like to think of themselves as Democrats on the economic issues, but when it comes to the squeeze, on some of these cultural issues--didn't this all come up earlier about three weeks ago in San Francisco, this conversation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, film director Paul Verhoeven is soon to release a book that is claimed to be a new "biography" of Jesus Christ. In this new publication, Verhoeven feels that he successfully proves that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was raped by a Roman soldier during the Jewish uprising in Galilee and the boy Jesus was the result of that attack. No virgin birth for Christ, but instead a rape.
Verhoeven is best known as the director of the films "Basic Instinct," the Arnold Schwarzenegger film "Total Recall," as well as the spectacular flop "Showgirls." The Dutch director reports that he's had a "lifelong ambition" to make a movie about Jesus and hopes this book will spur interest in his film ideas. Verhoeven spent 20 years writing the tome and this has led Catholic League President Bill Donohue to scoff at the claims as being overwrought and unproven even with 20 years of research. Donohue says they are "laughable" claims and wonders why 20 years of research only led to a claim that Christ is "probably" descended from a rapist.
Last evening, Chicago's Fox News at Nine aired the segment "Cardinal George Talks About Pope's Visit to America." Reporter Nancy Pender's interview with Chicago's Cardinal Francis George included video of Pope Benedict XVI touring the United States as Ms. Pender provided the voice-over:
"The Cardinal says the visit reinforced his view of the Pope as a warm, compassionate man, and not the hardline conservative he's reputed to be."
CARDINAL GEORGE: None of us is totally responsible for our reputations, it's what you make of it. So if that's the reputation he had, then it turns out not to be entirely true, because the man I saw during this visit is the man I've known for the last 20 years since being a bishop.
Over the years I have come to expect that atheists and secular humanists would take advantage of the anonymity provided by the internet to further their world view at the expense of those that lead a life based on faith in God. With little exception unmoderated discussion boards, internet based news outlets and blogs that bear any sign of religious content end up attracting those who seek validation by attacking the faithful.
The day after Pope Benedict XVI departed the U.S. after a six-day visit, Blaine Harden of the Washington Post lamented the Catholic Church’s influence in the Philippines, specifically, the government of Philippines "acceding to Catholic doctrine" by "supporting only what it calls ‘natural’ family planning," rejecting "modern contraception" as part of family planning." Throughout his article, titled "Birthrates Help Keep Filipinos in Poverty," Harden painted a bleak picture of "the fastest-growing segment of the Philippine population," which is "very poor people with large families," and sought to blame their poverty and backwardness on their following Catholic teaching, brushing aside corruption and other factors that contribute to poverty. A photo accompanying the article in the print-edition of the Post showed a poor Filipino mother in her shack with her four children, two of whom are naked.
Harden described the Church’s influence throughout the article, hinting that it had created a climate of fear in the country "An organization that is helping Espinoza [a poor Filipino woman who plans to get a contraceptive intrauterine device] agreed to introduce this reporter to her on condition that it not be named. The group’s health workers said they fear retaliation and harassment from officials in the national and city government, as well as from the Catholic Church." He immediately mentioned after this that in 2005, the "Catholic bishops in the southern Philippines announced that they would refuse Communion to government health workers who distributed birth control devices."
With Pope Benedict back in Rome, the media are rendering their verdict of the pontiff's U.S. visit. The pontiff did "better than expected" seems to be the verdict coming from secular journalists, who, of course, found that the pontiff bested the low expectations of unnamed "experts."
NEW YORK, April 20 -- After thanking the United States for his "many memorable experiences of American hospitality," Pope Benedict XVI headed back to Rome on Sunday night, ending a six-day visit in which he directly confronted the clergy sex-abuse crisis and surprised many by drawing large, enthusiastic crowds.
Just in time for the third anniversay of Pope Benedict XVI's election to the papacy, Time magazine's Tim Padgett penned a positively-intentioned yet patronizing defense of why he's "still a Roman Catholic." Suffice it to say Padgett's reasons don't ring with theological clarity or a sense of faith-filled awe at the central and essential claims of Catholicism.
No, Padgett made clear in his April 19 article that his Catholicism is one of personal preference, holding aloft not the Church as herald of the Truth, but its "quieter value" as a community in which to mark life's milestones from cradle to grave (emphasis mine):
CosmoGirl! magazine is a great resource to find out which lip gloss looks best with your prom dress, but it fails miserably as a religious guide. In the May 2008 article "Religion by Design," author Marina Khidekel does not give any indication that she understands the essence of religion: the acknowledgement of a Being greater than the individual, the community, and any earthly concern, who revealed His will to humanity in holy books.
Instead, Khidekel reduces religion to personal preference, endorsing the phenomenon of teens moving away from the organized religion of their families and creating their own belief systems by picking bits from various religions and philosophies, whatever makes them feel good.
Dubbed "Starbucks spirituality," these mix-and-match beliefs could contain "a shot of Catholicism, a sprinkle of Buddhism, a pinch of Hindu teachings – or whatever else [teens] are in the mood for that day."
The left-wing blogosphere's outrage against ABC ["Boycott Fig Newtons!"] over its allegedly unfair questioning of Obama during Wednesday's debate has seeped over into the MSM in the form of Derrick Z. Jackson's Boston Globe column of this morning. While the headline moots the matter in the interrogative "Tough questions or just plain bias?", there's no doubt as to the answer in Jackson's mind. Just two paragraphs in, the columnist unleashes [emphasis added]:
In some 1,600 words of transcript, Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos tried to eviscerate Obama in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
I confess that when the producers of Ben Stein’s new documentary "Expelled" called, offering me a private screening, I was less than excited.
It is a reality of PC liberalism: There is only one credible side to an issue, and any dissent is not only rejected, it is scorned. Global warming. Gay "rights." Abortion "rights." On these and so many other issues there is enlightenment, and then there is the Idiotic Other Side. PC liberalism’s power centers are the news media, the entertainment industry and academia and all are in the clutches of an unmistakable hypocrisy: Theirs is an ideology that preaches the freedom of thought and expression at every opportunity, yet practices absolute intolerance toward dissension.
Evolution is another one of those one-sided debates. We know the concept of Intelligent Design is stifled in academic circles. An entire documentary to state the obvious? You can see my reluctance to view it.
I went into the screening bored. I came out of it stunned.